The lawyers for prominent Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono have revealed that he is currently surviving on biscuits and water only at the Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison where he is currently being detained.
This is after the prison authorities barred Chin’ono from receiving any home-cooked food, insisting that he can only have dry foods or food cooked at the prison kitchen. However, the prison can only provide Sadza, which Chin’ono is unable to eat due to a health condition.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) have raised alarm at the brutal treatment that Hopewell and opposition politician Jacob Ngarivhume are getting in prison. The lawyers allege that the two were transferred from Harare Remand Prison to the notorious Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison without any prior notification or explanation.
The lawyers further allege that the two are being denied basic human rights such as food and privacy to consult with their legal representatives despite the fact that these rights are guaranteed to all prisoners by the Consitution.
Chin’ono and Ngarivhume were arrested July 20 on allegations of using social media to incite Zimbabweans to stage violent protests on July 31. However, critics argue that Chin’ono was targeted by the government after he had exposed massive high-level corruption which allegedly went all the way up to the first family.
The two have been repeatedly denied bail at the courts. They were initially denied bail by the Magistrates’ Court. When they appealed against the decision at the High Court, Justice Tawanda Chitapi threw out their applications.
The duo was dealt another blow today when their bail hearing was postponed because the designated Magistrate is not around. They were notified that he will only be available on Monday.